7 personal finance strategies to boost your bottom line


Photo Credit: Kalawin

Everyone wants to save more money. Maybe it’s human nature or part of the drive to provide for a more secure future. Whatever the reason, financial counselors note that most adults express a desire to save more than they have in the recent past. The so-called “consumer culture” has its way of draining savings accounts. What’s the solution? Credit counselors have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves. Here are 7 that seem to be the most popular and the simplest to incorporate into daily life:

Make a Detailed Personal Budget

Most every financial expert will list this as the number one way to control spending. By far, the majority of people who have trouble tracking and controlling their spending do not have budgets. Make a detailed monthly budget that lists every dollar of income and spending. Organize each item by due dates or dates of occurrence. One of the fastest ways to create a workable budget is to use the built-in spreadsheet on your computer.

Shop at Big-box Stores and Retail Clubs

Joining a retail club or doing most of your shopping at big-box retailers can be a very easy way to chop grocery and other bills. You can use the store rewards card for additional discounts, or even the credit card from Costco that earns cashback throughout the year that can add up to plenty of free money on the items you would be purchasing anyways. Also, pay attention to the Costco gas hours so you can double dip on cheaper gas than competitors while using your rewards card earning cashback at the same time.

Place Stickers on Credit Cards

Put sticky notes on every credit and debit card you have. Write something on them like, “Should I really buy this right now?” Giving yourself a small nudge each time you grab for the plastic is an effective way to rein in spending.

Cancel Retail Newsletter Subscriptions

Many of us subscribe to dozens of retail e-reminders that send out coupons, special offers and sale announcements. Unsubscribe from all of them in order to minimize your urge to spend money.

Pay Credit Cards Off Every Month

Credit card interest is one of the biggest drains on personal financial power. Make it a habit to pay off credit card balances every month. That way you’ll never have to worry about paying extra for purchases or getting into more debt than you can handle.

Drink More Water

This old reliable money-saving tactic has been around for decades because it works. If you’re a soda hound, cut way back on the bottled stuff and opt for water instead. Put tap water and ice in a thermos and bring it to work with you. Avoid buying soda at the store and you’ll quickly notice the difference in your regular grocery bills.

Take Your Lunch to Work

Eating out during your daily lunch hour can be a real money drain. Not only are most restaurant meals less nutritious than what you can make for yourself at home, they cost a lot more. Try to limit “going for lunch with the gang” to just one time per week or every two weeks. You’ll quickly see the financial impact.

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